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  • MEPs question carbon credits to incinerators

    July 18, 2012
    by Davide Salviati

    Landfill (Copyright Marsicalive)

    Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), civil society organizations, international networks and citizens from 23 countries, submitted a letter to the European Commission to urge an end to the purchase of carbon credits from landfill gas systems and incinerators in developing countries.

    As a matter of fact, the EU is currently financing, through the purchase of carbon credits, incinerators and landfills in African and Latin American countries that would be illegal in the EU.

    These waste disposal projects contradict and undermine Europe’s official priorities: waste reduction, reuse, recycling, limiting toxic emissions from incineration, diverting organic waste from landfills and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

    According to a study by Friends of the Earth,there are many anti-ecological projects funded by the EU and built in Europe itself.

    In the letter, made public recently, they say that the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the UN agency in charge of regulating the international carbon market, is falling down on the job, and they demand that it stop issuing carbon credits to landfills and incinerators.

    “In the EU, we are trying to reduce waste disposal in landfills and incinerators to a minimum,” said MEP Sirpa Pietikainen , one of the signatories to the letter. “Now the CDM is supporting landfills and incinerators which would be illegal if built in the EU, and we are paying for them.”

    “The CDM is supposed to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mariel Vilella, Climate Change Campaign Director for Global Alliance for Incinerator  Alternatives (GAIA),one of the signatory groups. “But incinerators and landfills actually increase emissions. What’s worse, they are displacing an informal recycling economy that employs millions of people.”

    GAIA recently accused CDM projects of supporting: incinerators that lack adequate pollution controls; incinerators that maximize, rather than minimize, the burning of recyclables; and landfills that deliberately increase emissions of greenhouse gases in order to receive credit for capturing them.

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